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Alden Scholar Series

Dr. Amie A. Doughty (November 2013)



“Throw the Book Away:” Reading Versus Experience in Children’s Fantasy

Dr. Amie A. Doughty (November 2013)

This book examines the role that books, readers, and reading play in children's fantasy.  Though one of the primary goals for teachers of children and young adults is to make them active, engaged readers, children's fantasy books and films often present reading quite differently.  In these texts, books represent adult authority, and the young protagonists reject that authority by rejecting books and reading, both of which frequently pose a threat to the characters.  The characters must learn to become self-sufficient through experience beyond the shelter of adult authority in order to mature, and rejecting (or questioning) books acts as one means by which they can reach maturity.  This book offers a new perspective on the role of books and reading in children's fantasy.  Most research into fantasy focuses on areas such as gender roles or the mythological creatures in the fantasy worlds, while research into reading and books for children is usually a practical matter – focused on how to get children to read (a pedagogical focus) – and/or focused on realistic fiction.  This book combines research into reading, fantasy, and subversion in children's literature to offer a new way of looking at children's fantasy.  It will appeal to a wide audience.  The broad topic will appeal to education majors, while some of the specific texts being analyzed – Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries – will interest fans of those texts, no small number of people.

Abstract written by author for submission to the Alden Scholar Series Organizing Committee.

Doughty, Amie A. (2013). “Throw the book away”: Reading versus Experience in Children's Fantasy. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.